Rail workers from Blackburn said they were "touched" by the support they had received after going on strike.

Today around 40,000 members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union at Network Rail and 13 train operators have walked out in a dispute over pay, jobs and conditions.

Only a fifth of trains are running on Tuesday and half of all lines were closed, with almost all trains in East Lancashire not running.

Northern rail services were not operating on most routes, with a "very limited" number of trains on the few running lines.

Many people chose to work from home rather than travelling to offices, or opt for other modes of transport to get to work.

Blackburn Railway Station was closed and a dozen workers and supporters were picketing on Railway Road opposite with placards. Around 20 people work at the station.

Julie Summers, secretary for the East Lancashire branch of RMT, said staff had received support from passers-by.

Julie, who has been a conductor for five years, said: “We have had a lot of support all through the early morning and some wonderful comments from people.

“A lot of drivers are peeping their horns in support.

“When people have stopped to talk to us they want to know more about the background to the dispute.”

Lancashire Telegraph:

Julie Summers, secretary for the East Lancashire branch of RMT

Julie added: “There is a lot of talk about modernisation.

“If you look at London and some other parts of the UK it is very different to places like the north west where there has been less investment.”

Hackney carriage taxi drivers parked next to the station, who would usually be ferrying arriving passengers to various parts of the borough but today were left with very few customer, said they understood the reasons behind the strikes.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Blackburn Railway Station was closed

One cab driver said: “We have been very quiet as we normally get trade from people leaving or travelling to the station.”

Strikes are also planned for Thursday and Saturday.

Usually busy stations across the North West were nearly deserted except for union picket lines.

In Manchester a trickle of travellers entered and left a largely deserted Piccadilly train station, along with some confused and bewildered tourists, as RMT pickets manned the entrances.

The station, which handled more than 130,000 visitors last weekend, was running just 20 per cent of normal weekday services.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch warned that the dispute could continue for months, adding: “It is clear that the Tory Government, after slashing £4 billion of funding from National Rail and Transport for London, has now actively prevented a settlement to this dispute.”

The Department for Transport disputed Mr Lynch’s clams, adding that it has cost taxpayers about £600 per household to keep the railway running during the coronavirus pandemic.